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Castle Inawashiro Castle

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Inawashiro Castle (猪苗代城 Inawashiro-jō) is a mountain castle (平山城 hirayamashiro) in Inawashiro, Fukushima . It is also known as Kamegajō (亀ヶ城) and was designated a Historic Site of Fukushima.

Inawashiro Castle (猪苗代城)

History:


In the early Kamakura period , Sawara Yoshitsura (佐原義連) of the Miura clan (三浦氏) was given the four districts of Aizu by Minamoto no Yoritomo (源頼朝) for his military exploits in the Battle of Oshu in 1189. Yoshitsura's son, Moritsura (盛連), had six sons, and the territory was divided among them. It is said that the land of Inawashiro was given to his eldest son, Tsunetsura (経連), who took the family name Inawashiro and built Inawashiro Castle. His younger brother Mitsumori (光盛) became the founder of the Ashina clan (蘆名氏).

From then on, the Inawashiro clan would hold the castle until the Sengoku period . The Ashina clan, which ruled the Aizu Basin, also descended from Sawara Yoshitsura and was of the same clan as the Inawashiro. The latter repeatedly rebelled against the Ashina until finally, just before the Battle of Suriagehara (摺上原の戦い) in 1589, the then head of the family, Inawashiro Morikuni (猪苗代盛国), secretly appealed to Date Masamune (伊達政宗), leading to the destruction of the Ashina clan. When the Date clan left Aizu due to Toyotomi Hideyoshi's Oshu assignment, Morikuni also left Inawashiro, ending the Inawashiro clan's rule of approximately 400 years.

After the battle of Sekigahara (関ヶ原の戦い) in 1600, Gamō Hideyuki (蒲生秀行, 1583-1612) took over Aizu, and his chief retainer Seki Kazutoshi (関一利) was put in charge of Inawashiro Castle with 7,500 koku. Kazutoshi left the Gamō family in March 1609 after a conflict with Oka Shigemasa (岡重政), whom Hideyuki had appointed. After Seki Kazutoshi, Oka Shigemasa entered the castle but was condemned to death in Sunpu in December 1613. Oka Sanai (岡左内), castellan during the reign of Gamō Hideyuki, was known as a devout Christian and promoted Christianity in Inawashiro. Still, after his death, the Edo Shogunate's policy of suppressing Christianity also led to suppression in Inawashiro.

When Hoshina Masayuki (保科正之, 1611-1673) who was the younger brother of Shōgun Tokugawa Iemitsu (徳川家光) became daimyō of the Aizu domain in 1643, the headquarters were established at Inawashiro Castle. After Masayuki's death, the graveyard (Masayuki was buried at Hanitsu Shrine (土津神社), north of the castle) was built. They also played an important role in protection. During the Boshin War (戊辰戦争) in 1868, when the Western Army defeated the Eastern Army at the Battle at the Bonari Pass (母成峠の戦い) and invaded Aizu territory, Takahashi Gondayu (高橋権大夫), the castellan at the time burned the castle and withdrew to Wakamatsu, all buildings were lost and here Inawashiro Castle's role as a castle ended.

Structure:


The castle structure was centred on the Honmaru at the top of the mountain, surrounded by the Ninomaru on the hillside, with the Sannomaru on the eastern side of the foot of the hill. The Sannomaru area has been urbanised, but the remains of the Honmaru and Ninomaru remain well preserved.

Inawashiro Castle (猪苗代城)

The castle is on a small hill in the northern plains of Lake Inawashiro. The mountain was formed by magma and volcanic ash from the activities of the old Bandai Mountains 200,000-400,000 years ago. Tsurumine Castle was a branch castle on the hill northwest of Inawashiro Castle.

Inawashiro Castle (猪苗代城)

Aerial photographs taken from Geographical Survey Institute maps. The location of the enclosures is estimated.

Parking spaces are available on the east side of the building, but there is also parking at the Inawashiro Town Library to the south.

① Castle entrance (登城口)

Stone walls are often used on the route up to the castle.

Inawashiro Castle (猪苗代城)g

Cherry blossoms were still blooming in the castle.

Inawashiro Castle (猪苗代城)

② Honmaru (本丸)

Honmaru (the main enclosure) is located at the top of the mountain.

Inawashiro Castle (猪苗代城)

The interior is a relatively large open space. There are also earthworks built around the perimeter, where cherry trees are planted.

Inawashiro Castle (猪苗代城)

③ Ninomaru (二の丸)

Large spaces are taken up on the north and south sides of Ninomaru surrounding the Honmaru.

Inawashiro Castle (猪苗代城)

The ruins of empty moats and earthworks surrounding the castle are still visible throughout.

Inawashiro Castle (猪苗代城)


Inawashiro Castle (猪苗代城)


Inawashiro Castle (猪苗代城)

④ Kamegajo Inari (亀ヶ城稲荷)

It is located at the foot of the mountain northeast of the castle.

Inawashiro Castle (猪苗代城)

There was a snake on the ground. It must have shown its face to greet the first sun rays.

Inawashiro Castle (猪苗代城)

Date of visit: 3 May 2014



Access:

  • Address: 7150-1 Kojoato, Inawashiro, Yama District, Fukushima 969-3123
  • Access: a 25-minute walk from Inawashiro Station on the JR Banetsu West Line; 4 kilometres via National Route 115 from Inawashiro-Banetsu-Kogen Interchange on the Banetsu Expressway
  • Parking: Kamegajo Ruins Park Parking Lot (Free: Point 'P' on the map above)
  • Other sights: Inawashiro Town Tourist Map (from the Inawashiro Tourism Association website)

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Hiroto Uehara
Hiroto is an ordinary Japanese office worker, but his true mission is searching for castles on the weekend.

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Author
Hiroto Uehara
Article read time
3 min read
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1,243
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Location
7150-1 Kojoato, Inawashiro, Yama District, Fukushima 969-3123

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